Once you have a rough draft, then
break down your revising tasks so you are concentrating on one thing at a time. Each of the following tasks in each
level must be done specifically and
thoroughly before moving on to the
Level 1: Point, focus, audience, and
- First, discover your
point, or your purpose for writing.
Is it clearly stated in your thesis or first sentence? What point do you clearly want to
convey? Are you saying it
specifically? You may need to do
some brainstorming or freewriting here to pinpoint
something worth saying.
- Second, is the focus
clear? Does your point remain
consistent throughout the correspondence? Get rid of the material that isn’t
- Third, is the writing
appropriate for the intended audience?
Style and tone are relevant here.
- Fourth, are the parts
of the paper presented in the most effective order? Do you want to start softly and end
strongly? Do you need to sandwich
the weakest point in the middle?
What choices do you need to make here?
- Now, put the paper
down. You may have been working
on these specific tasks for a considerable length of time. Let it rest.
2: Idea development.
- Next, read the paper
looking for ideas that need to be
made more convincing by further development. Are there places where you could be
- Does each paragraph
have a clear and specific topic sentence that supports the point or thesis
each paragraph fully developed?
you need to include more examples, facts, arguments, or illustrations to make
your point more convincing?
your introduction eye-catching, interesting, and does it lead the reader right
into the thesis?
your conclusion witty, clever, and brief?
you have the time, let it rest.
Like a fine wine, it only improves with age.
3: Sentence structure and
have a solid point and valid evidence.
Now you need to narrow your revising to concerns of sentence structure
and specific wording. Have you
used a varied sentence structure, paying attention to the uses of short,
medium, and long sentences?
you vary the structure of your sentences so that your writing is not
your wording clear, precise, and concise? Does every word “tell”?
- Delete wordy
phrases. Further, check the
thesaurus for any words that you overuse.
Level 4: Editing.
Before the final printing of your
paper, check for errors in:
How does your paper “look”? Is it appealing?
Comma usage, fragments, run-ons, comma
Other punctuation: semi-colons are often
misused! If you don’t know how to
use them, then don’t!
Subject-verb agreement and pronoun-antecedent
Consider using a computer grammar check, keeping
in mind they aren’t always accurate.
You can now hand in your work with assurance that you
have completed all tasks with care and consideration.